Sunday, February 29, 2004

waiting, walking, and spring.

didn't bother sleeping last night, since i had to be at the lishkaht hagioos (that's as phonetic as i can make it- translation: army draft place) at 9 am. i did get a lot of arabic studying (relearning) done. i think i'm understanding it. i have to finish everything up today though. doesn't help that i'm getting sleepy. the gorgeous weather isn't helping either. it's 80 degrees out. yes, 80. welcome to spring in Israel. summer will be here momenterily.

taking a short break and going back to yesterday: spent the whole day (i woke up at 3, leave me alone, i can't sleep for the next 4 months) with effie and dog yuko. got breakfast at a cafe, went to the beach, went to get more coffee, hung out, helped her with her driving practicle exam (the test here is fucking insane, you need to know everything about how your car works.). effie is from england, and apparently in england they teach you how to think when taking an exam. well, i've had to scrub that silly notion out of her head and introduce her to good old fashion american test taking, SAT style.

key words, process of elimination, and trying to imagine youre an ape with slightly malfunctioning opposable thumbs.

back to today. got to the LS at 9 something. mind you, i had to go, because i got the "orange letter" which means i'd have a warrent out for my arrest otherwise. i just had to drop off a letter from my doctor anyway, and now they'll decide if i'm going or not. whatever. i finally got out around 11. then you have to wait for a cab to fill up so he'll take you to the stupid bus station, where you will sit and wait for the right bus to come by. taxis drive past you slowly, hoping against hope that you'll be in such despair and such haste that you'll pay any price to hop into their luxury death box (i almost got killed twice on the ride to the LS). since i'd blown so much cash taking a cab there, i wasn't about to hop in another one. "ata lokeakh cartisia?" i finally asked one of the cab drivers as he gave me a look that i wasn't sure if he was pleading, or trying to get me to plead with him to take me home. "you take a bus pass?" yeah, he got a laugh out of that one.

the bus ride is long. too long. i pulled out my dying map at one point to see if the bus was by any chance stopping at a place i needed to go. the old woman across from me leaned over and said in a russian accent (though in very good english) yes, where do you need to go? well? what are you looking for? I answered in hebrew. not for any reason other than that's the language i was thinking in at that moment. i think she may have taken offense to that. it took me a second to realize why she spoke to me in english. she chose english cos i had a copy of Friedman's "Longitudes and Attitudeds" a collection of his editorials just prior too, and after 9/11 up until 2003 i believe. interesting read. it's funny how a lot of his critics don't seem to recall any of the things he was writing back them. he's quite intelligent, although i certainly can't agree with everything he says. a lot of people seem to make unfair judgements on what he writes. i can understand criticizing it, but they treat the man as though he were Paul Krugman. Really kids, let's all try to play a little fair. at least friedman isn't a complete cynical washout. either way, i tend to prefer the washington post.

question now is...do i dare nap?

Friday, February 27, 2004

Pretty basic but there really should be more articles written giving people sex tips. really, sexual etiquette is important, and many people seem to be unaware of that. the comments are quite funny. i dont get what's offensive about this. Personally, i think she could have expanded the article a great deal, but that's just me.

cousin/roomate never ceases to amaze. well, she does, but then out of nowhere she does something incredible. february has not just been a rough on myself, but her as well. she, at least, has an excuse. all month she's had test. really really hard tests. so she's mostly been locked away in her room or off at work. the little that we've seen each other has been mostly stress ridden and depression driven, two colliding worlds not meant to meet. there wasn't any fighting, but the apartment was cold (and not just because of the occasional winter rain).

so the other day, walking down the street, i was really thinking deeply about how cold i felt she'd been lately. wondering if this living arrangement was working. i got home that night and there's a note on the laptop "Hey, Just wanted to say that i'm sorry for being such a 'kalba' (bitch) lately, it's jut the... i even don't know what. But i havent been a very nice person to be with. I guess i just need some space. sorry"

well, i just walked into her room where she was (again) studying, gave her a kiss on the top of her head, and sat down to listen to her vent a bit about the shit tests she had the next morning. so things between us are good. i go back to school on monday, and then we really wont be seeing one another, since i'm out of the house before her, and she tends to get home a little before i'm off to bed. i just realized i'm going to have 11 1/2 hours of classes on thursdays. non-stop. at least it gives a good excuse to start drinking at 8 when i get out of school. happy hour. excellent.

my reviewing of arabic (i.e. relearning of everything) is not going as well as i keep telling myself it will. i need to learn 6 lessons. each one takes about 2 hours to master. i'm an idiot. i have until monday.

i got a message this morning from effie, seems that she needs someone manly (why she called me, i dont know. i guess because i'm not her exboyfriend) to help her move heavy things in her apartment. (again, why me, i dont know) apparently she tried and broke some cupboard which almost killed her. in return, i'm getting a chili dinner tonight. sounds good to me.

that reminds me, i should skeedaddle and re-re-read my B.S. (black september) paper. exactly 30 pages, how neat is that? i dont want to change anything because it's the perfect (read, maximum) length. im nervous about handing it in. i hope it's good.

Tonight film was 1934's "Of Human Bondage" starring Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Francis Dee, and...three guys named Reginald. If you've never watched a Bette Davis flick, you're missing out. Leslie Howard was amazing. That scene where he stares down a cruel and ungrateful Bette Davis and spits out "You disgust me." Classic.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

feeling neglected? well, we can't all have the pope sprinkle ashes on our heads. personally, i can't wait to see the passion of the christ. rambling? you bet i am. but i saw clips of that crucifiction scene, and damn, that's some bloody violence. i feel like taking a nap.

tonight i'm off to the tel aviv jazz festival with effie, the crazy british roomate of K. there was a ticket mixup, and effie is a bigger jazz fan, so K is gonna see if she can find herself a ticket.

A from class just got back from thailand. apparently one of the first things he thought of was to email me about beer pong on friday. i called him a few hours later and he seemed totally delirious. i wonder when the thought of beer pong hit him between the time he landed and the time he emailed me. either way, i consider it endearing.

so i've just about finished my 30 page black september paper. anyone who feels like proofreading is welcome. **wink wink australia wink wink**

i wish i could join the MI5. more so than the CIA, which i've also considered. i'm sure this blog will somehow come back to bite me in the ass if i go through with applying. that is if all my other dirty secrets dont get out, hehehe...*sigh* i wish i was james bond. or james dean.

besides all this, life has been pretty slow moving. classes start on the 1st, thus ending sleep for the next 4 months. i'd better store up.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

well, we got a headline now, didn't we? i made the round of calls, and everyone seems fine. as for me i'm watching cary grant shower in his suit. i love old movies, i should watch more of them. it's an audrey hepburn/cary grant espionage flick. very charming. i believe it's called "charade." I recommend it.

anyone feel like placing bets? i'd like to say that by the time y'all get up in the mornin' we're gonna have a nice big headline. that's what i'd like to say

Friday, February 20, 2004

so where have i been? nowhere, really. i was up north for a few short days, celebrated cousins and uncles birthday. got cousin 2 chopin cd's and an 1878 illustrated copy of a shakespeare's king's collection. (for 30 sequels, i might add! sometimes you get lucky). I picked it up at a great little used book shop down on allenby called harpers, so if youre in the area, it deserves a visit.

i've been making good headway with my paper. of course, i was supposed to have finished it last week, but eh, i'm laaaaazy. i am, however, getting out of my funk *knock wood*. Dont ask, i dont know how it happens. perhaps talking to K about it helped. probably. i've never been a big talker about how i feel, so maybe i'll change that. i've been getting pangs of motivation to get my shit done (but it's all still coming slowly, and i'm still feeling a bit aloof)...but more surprising is the strange desire to get into a relationship. it's been about a year now since my last actual relationship, and for unexplainable reasons i've had a desire to get back into one. go figure. the only drawback is knowing that the best relationships always come about when you're not looking for one. so i have start keeping my eyes open without looking.

in other news, dad is looking to find me a flight. he might have found one that gives me a night in paris, which would be great, cos crazy anna is there now, and i havent seen her since she visited new york last year. the girl is amazing. i spoke to her online about being in paris, and pointed out that i didnt know she spoke french. haha, she doesnt. she speaks some sort of spanish-italian-english combo that apparently pisses them off to no end and she's having a great time doing it. she's an absolute riot, and i hope i get to see her disturbing the lives of parisians.

i'm contemplating calling Josh in Jerusalem about spending a Jewy shabbat with him. i've never had one, and i think i mentioned once that i'd like to try it out. he'd be a good one to do it with, cos i'd get lots of fun explanations to everything that is Jew.

spent the other day at old man yossef's. we watched home movies from the 60's and 70's that he filmed all over the world. he's a hoot.

*sigh* i've stepped into a dilemma....dad has found me a ticket home for the holidays. drawback, i'd be missing six days of class. five of them arabic. i really dont know how i could pull that one off...but i really want to go visit home....oh goodness.....

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

I'd like to inform you about a "Dialog of Faith", bringing together on line Muslim, Jewish and Christian clergy, scholars,
and teachers to discuss Middle East conflict. Funded by the Bannan Center at Santa Clara University, the project will permit these individuals to exchange viewpoints on issues of terrorism and security, justice and resistance, America's role in the Middle East, and the future shape of peace. The website address is http://itrs.scu.edu/stover/dof and the
dialog will occur between March 1 and 10. You can observe the exchange by logging in as a guest. Please share this information with friends and colleagues who might be interested in the prospect for peace in the Middle East.

Monday, February 16, 2004

havent slept. feeling delirious. chew on this:

All these complex mechanisms are able to operate because this toilet has a brain

Sunday, February 15, 2004

So we'll take a moment to throw out some links as to why at this moment in time, it is clear that Bush is the best candidate. First, let's look at it from the middle east standpoint. Then, take a look at what the Washington Post and columnist George Will has to say about John Kerry. Finally, a look at the No Child Left Behind Act, something that Democrats have been so critical of Bush over.

now, there are clearly things about president bush that i dislike. i certainly dont like the rhetoric about amending the constitution to state that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. the united states constitution is not a document of moral relativism. Such amendments always bode ill. But what are kerry's plans? He has yet to take a stand beyond NOT supporting gay marriage, but gives a vague yes on civil unions. Anyone who keeps up with Andrew Sullivan knows that civil unions are not the answer. Dick Cheney, for all the colorful things democrats have to say about him, is one of the few to actual take a firm stand on the issue: leave it up to the states to decide.

I don't like where the international community has taken afghanistan and the US is certainly part of that international community.

Iraq has been a mess lately. But it could be much much worse. If you're following Z's blog you know that things are looking a little up lately. Unfortunatly, a certain mr. al-sistani is getting far more attention in the west than is good for anyone. But i wont be making any serious assessments until after June 30, when the power is handed over to iraq, for better or worse.

Friday, February 13, 2004

this is a lame whiney post. dont bother if you have anything better to do besides listen to me moan and whine. what's that? you dont? well, maybe i can distract you with this or this or this? No? wow...you're really desperate. ok, go on then.

So some of us, namely me, have come to a recent conclusion that some of us, namely me, seem to suffer from what can best be described as 'seasonal depression.' hold onto those hat kids, it's not that exciting. it does, however, make one realize some unfortunate and probably unhealthy habits. most certainly unhelpful ones.

it's february, and february is the crappiest of all the months. the only saving grace is that it's generally only 28 days, except for those teasing bastard leap years. now i came to this conclusion during one of my many mindless hours spent doing, well, nothing these past two weeks. i've pretty much gotten all of my research done for my black september paper, and i could write it now and do a good job, but there's more i want to do. besides that though, really nothing to tell. still, i have to admit it's been better than other years. the weather must be a factor in that.

back to why february is so bad. every meaningful relationship i've ever had (i count 5 with 4 people, one of them twice) ended in february save for one*. Meaningful in that there was more to them than good times with good people. All of them were special in some way, even the ones where i was a terrible selfish shallow cocknocker. That's putting it nicely. if you've known me long enough, you can come up with better adjectives.

back to february, take 3. february is bad times all around. the mind gets foggy, the feet get itchy, and the heart turns to black new york city slush with the ice film on top so that your foot gets covered in street shit after you've fallen into it. nothing good ever comes out of february*. it's almost like an addiction. you see it coming, you know it'll be there, you swear you'll fight it off, but suddenly out of nowhere you find yourself spending 24 hours in one room mastering spider solitaire and wondering why the thoughts in your head arent moving fast enough. this is one of the better february moments.

this year has been pretty good. nothing worse than hiding in my own bubble for a little while and lamenting over unforgivable mistakes from the past. prior years have seen the famous 'weeks long disappearing trick' and the ever popular 'nervous breakdown'. but then spring comes around, and i start getting giddy. by summer i'm a downright idiot. then by fall i'm almost kinda charming i think. it's a weird cycle.

of course, now i'm suddenly able to analyze all of this. more thought will go into it, and we'll see what we can come up with. anyway, i've been feeling quite good, and i've shaved off my beard (German K saw me and immediatly insisted i did this for a new start. she has no idea how perceptive she is and it scares me. English E told her she's an idiot because she has nothing to base that on. i tried to be reassuring without giving anything away, probably because until German K said something i hadnt thought of it myself.)

today i'm up north for uncles birthday. i bought him a cd. hope he likes it. i've very sleep and am going to take an afternoon nap now.

*the exception. the one relationship that didnt end in february began with a life saving phone call during the worst most horrible most no-good rotten terrible frightening and dangerous february ever.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

so i'd like to go visit everyone in new york during passover, but there doesnt seem to be any cheap flights. so if anyones got a knack for finding low airfares for poor students, please lend your graces thisaway.

oh, and we had a mild earthquake this morning. nothing big. i just rolled over and went back to sleep. i'm kinda surprised the whole country didnt collapse though, i'm not sure anything here is built to withstand a decent sized earthquake.

Monday, February 09, 2004

been busy, so occupy yourselves with this. read it all, it's good for you. then read this. it's even better for you. here is the translated list of everyone that got to profit off of the UN's Oil For Food program. Z's blog was the first place i'd heard of this. that boy is on top of everything.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

so MJ (that's michael jackson for the unwashed) has joined the nation of islam? eh, good, they can have 'im, just let me keep my Jackson 5 greatest hits CD. he should do a duet with Cat Stevens. of course, MJ would make a lousy suicide bomber, everyone would get off the bus anyway, hell i'd blow myself up to get away from MJ. At least i have a beard so he probably wouldnt be interested in sitting next to me anyway.

ummmm....so apparently some russian girl has super-powers? yeah...it was just on CNN...let me see if i can find a link for y'all. "Overall, she was just a normal kid. Never was she able to see through humans!" says her loving mother. there are just waaaay too many good lines in this, so you'll have to read it for yourself...i particularly like the CIA conspiracy theory in the beginning. i know you will too. the fbi once tapped my phone...so why shouldnt this girl be able to see through humans? can she see through clothes too? that little x-ray mutant pervert! (WARNING! THIS IS HOW MUTANT DISCRIMINATION BEGINS!! DIDN'T YOU SEE X-MEN?!?!)

i think maybe we are all mutating. what with that two-headed baby in haiti and all. i hope i get to mutate. i'd like a superpower. the ability to use HTML in a way that would accomodate everyone? to predict the future? to stop MJ before he touches little boys? hey....i'm sure this an old joke by now (but i'm slow, shaddup) shouldnt MJ be joining the Catholic church? quitcher whinin, the only people i knew growing up were catholics, and none of them touched me inappropriatly...well, maybe they did, but we liked it. here, let me show you on the doll...


ok, i'll leave you with the dreams of a young girl:
"I would like to get into Moscow"s medical academy of Sechenov. However, I do not think that I will be able to pay for my studies- 70,000 rubles annually. Not even my gift can help me in these matters," says Natasha.

well naty, maybe it's time to charge people for your wonderful gift, the wonderful gift of realizing that there are many many many many many many many stupid people in the world.

then again, if i'm wrong, would you mind taking a look at this thing here on my foot?

Saturday, February 07, 2004

layout shmayout....one of these days i'm going devote an entire entry to flair. while blogger may be idiot proof, i'm certainly something greater than an idiot. folks, i have no idea how the internet works. all i know is that the geeks are out in force and i dont want to stir the herd. so we'll go back to plain and simple, which is apparently how miss. eurovision likes it, *hurmph* either way, congradulations to you miss eurovision 2006, i sent you mail full of sordid predictions which i will inherently deny i ever made when the day of judgement comes. praise allah, inssajesus, virgins for vishnu, i am off....

Friday, February 06, 2004

ok kids...let me know how this looks. and let me know if that picture on the side works. it should work for all you kids that aren't using internet explorer. thanks to brian for clearing things up, he gets a free ride on the little bus. any more tips and advice will be welcomed. by the way, brian, i used mozilla...not to my liking, too many things popping up. besides, i've got my little yahoo search bar with my little pop-up blocker thing. i guess i'm just giving in to bill gates. please, don't take your aggression out on me. but i've never clicked on strange attachments, so i'm not really a technophobe, just a technomoron.

but i want props for getting this thing working. i have no idea what i'm doing, and sorta playing around with what little html i remember from high school. yes, bow down...then let me know if this thing is crap or not.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

like the new look? i know you do...dont ask me about the picture. it came with the template. i find it soothing. plus i'm too lazy to go searching for something else, and too dumb to learn how to work this computer thing. it's a miracle i've gotten this far. blogger, is indeed, idiot proof.

i'll keep working on it though, there are things that need to be changed around, clearly.

in other news, apparently sister, brother-in-law, and their many many children will be moving into the new house with the parents. when will this happen? apparently in many many months. right now they're all living at the sisters house. the new house will take months to make huge apparently.

and i'm the insane one?

by the way...that little ad up top? anyone else notice it's saying "islamic jihad?" all i can say is, cool!

i have a working washing machine. cousin has been insane for a week as she has tests all this month. cousins friend has virtually moved in and they spend all day studying. art. ancient greek art. dead philosopher art. that's just lunacy.

had actual last last class at the museum today. interesting. good times. had lunch and coffee with D and A from class. and coffee. watched cutaways from egypt/camaroon and algeria/zimbabwe soccer matches.

went out for drinks at some bar. Female D from class is leaving for New Zealand. Alex knows female D, she's the highstrung one. she was hanging on me quite a bit. and kept asking me "isn't that guy i'm sorta seeing but not really just messing around with but it doesnt mean anything, cute?" chicks are weird.

too many people back home have been having panic attacks. it's like a new trend. i dont see why. i've had a couple of those. they dont beat a semi-complete nervous breakdown. complete breakdown is getting institutionalized. But i never figured out what to consider it if i had a semi-complete nervous breakdown and then voluntarily institutionalized myself. If lexiconography (?word?) is what stands between me and the funny farm, am i to be considered rationally insane or irrationally sane? either way, i can't believe i passed up all those drugs.

tee and hee.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

i forgot to mention that the best part of the day was getting mail from larissa and jenn. i would say, best part of the week. i'll go work on their trophy.

Monday, February 02, 2004

This has been a fun and wacky 48 hours. Which beats the dull and uninteresting 48 hours that preceded it.

Left for Jerusalem with D in the morningish...took the sheroot (min-van thing which is safer (?) than a bus) into Jerusalem, and walked around the entire old city. Which really isnt that big. It's a crazy place though. It's just full of all these alley ways that you can get lost in for hours. Not that it's such a great idea though, 'specially in the moslem quarter. I actually had an old muslim woman tell me "don't go up there" when i was walking down some shady looking alleyway. I decided she was probably right. Then again, i think i may have gone down it the other way later on without noticing. I should have taken more pictures, but i HATE looking like a tourist. I realized my arabic is terrible, but i was able to use a couple of words, and learn some new ones. Most everything was closed because yesterday was the Muslim holiday of Eid, and it was sunday, so all the Xtians were out. I did go to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Apparently this is the holy of holies for those having a special relationship with Jesus. D and i momenterily pondered if touching the slab of stone that Jesus apparently laid on would grant us special powers. So far, it hasn't. There are lots of weird little nooks and crannies in their too. Like these mini caves that some random mystery person has put candles inside of. Very very strange. The place houses something like half a dozen denominations, and they all can't stand each other. Rumor has it that the ladder above the enterance has been there for 150 years because no one remembers which group put it up there, and everyone refuses to clean up someone elses mess. It's a shame, it looks like a nice ladder. We also smelled weed coming from one of the little shops near the church. That was funny. Anyway, inside the church it's weird cos you dont really notice the nuns and priests and whatever other kind of religious ilk are there. They sort of skirt by very quickly and eerily. You just catch a glimpse of them as they go through a door, or in the shadows of one of these "caves" that have random alters and candles. Very very eerie.
We also stopped for coffee in the muslim quarter (ran into some NY times reporter that looked homeless and kept trying to compare israel to vietnam. how do you explain to someone that he has no idea what's happening if he's doing that?). There are entirely too many english speakers walking around the old city though. I'm glad to be back in tel aviv where it's normal hebrew everywhere.
I then met up with some family for some more coffee, hung around in their apartment, and then went to Josh's. We went out to eat something, talked about what's going on and whatnot. He's absolutely wonderful to talk to. I'm going to head out there for Shabbat in the next few weeks. I've never done anything religious, and certainly never really knew what i was doing if i was, so it'll be interesting to try it out.
In the morning i went back to the old city for a last walk around. Spent an hour in a cafe just inside from Yafo gate. It was empty save for me, two middle aged british ladies chattering in the corner, and a couple of older arab men near the enterance chain smoking and chatting with the owner and another guy that i'm guessing worked there. It's was really kinda beauiful. The enterance is all glass, with stenciled letters, like you'd find in an old cafe in europe, or a train stop in the midwest. Black letters vertically spelling "ESPRESSO" behind one guy, the morning light reflecting off his face and the long stream of smoke from his cigarette. The chatter of old friends, real old, sounds the same in every language. Spent an hour watching the five of them like this.
Finally left and walked through the market. One shop owner stopped me and we just started chatting. His name is Amor (builder in arabic) he's a kid, only 19, but he looks older. He also says he feels old, like he's 35 or 40. I believe it. His family is from Nablus, and he's lived in Jerusalem his whole life. Not the easiest places to have grown up in, especially the last 3 years. We just chatted and joked around, sat down and ate some baklava that i had in my bag. His english is very good, and he was saying how he likes talking with all the foreigners that come down there. He's met a bunch of american volunteers asking him about his experiences. It's a weird thing to do. It's like that reporter that stopped and talked to us. The reporter had asked me, "how do you see yourself?" How do i see myself? what do you mean? with a mirror, how else? Amor and i had a good laugh over this. We talked for an hour, just sitting in the near empty market. His family owns a resteraunt, but business has been terrible and they're closing it down. He says that in his store alone he used to make 5000 dollars a day, just profit. That was before the intifada. Now it's all empty. I asked him if he'd ever had problems with soldiers. He said, "yeah, once." Told me that he was driving and the soldiers were stopping cars. An ethiopian soldier asked for "his fucking citizenship [ID card]." Apparently Amor got angry and hit him. Broke his nose. The other soldiers beat him with clubs, "they took me to the hospital," he laughed, "they damaged me." He's not bitter though, and he emphasised that he has jewish friends. He doesnt have a problem with soldiers checking ID cards, but he wishes the guy had been nice about it. The fact that the guys an ethiopean was definatly a factor. He didn't say it, but a great deal of probably had to do with the fact that the ethiopeans are something relatively new here. Doesn't seem fair, huh? ah well. Amor says he wants to go to canada and study and work there. But he says he'll come back. I believe him.
Walked around more, took in the usual sites. Got lost in random quarters. The Muslim quarter is nice if you avoid the alleyways and stick to the thouroughfairs. The Jewish quarter is nice if you stick to the alleyways and avoid the thouroughfairs. The Xtian quarter is good if you like cheesy tourist merchandise and churches. The armenian quarter is good if youre armenian and your people have had the shittiest run of luck in history next to native americans. And they at least have casinos. No place is good if you need to poop, and i recommend bringing your own toilet paper. Also don't go if your sense of smell can't be killed off within minutes. The 400 year old sewage system may have been renovated back in the 60's...but the people there are still slobs. The arab kids seem to like playing with bikes and cap guns, the jewish kids seem more into basketball (there are a few random basketball courts in the old city, in the middle of archeological digs). Didnt see any xtian kids.
So now i'm home and i should go shower. I'm off to party in...the korean embassy? that's right. The "cousin" from the foreign ministry invited me. Should be interesting. I havent decided yet if i hope or dont hope that they'll serve dog.